Chemical Storage Guidelines
If you have a laboratory or research center using chemicals, it is important to know how to properly store them. The occupations safety and health administrations or OSHA has given out the requirements for storage that should be considered. Below are the requirements given by OSHA for proper storage of chemicals.
It is not enough to just put all the chemicals that you use on shelves. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. Different chemicals should not be put together in a cabinet but rather there should be put in different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.
Remember that chemicals interact, and so this should also be considered when they are stored. If there is negative interaction between two types of chemicals, they should be kept far away from each other. An example of this would be to store solvents together in a fire-resistant cabinet, but you should keep oxidizing agents away from them. Do not put acids (nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric) and bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammonia) together in one cabinet. Mixing these corrosive bases with acids with be generating heat which is very risky. Labeling chemical containers is important and for cylindrical ones the label should be on the shoulders.
There should be at least five chemical storage cabinets as recommended by the OSHA. The first one is for general storage where chemicals are put depending on their category or hazardous rating, the next is the cabinet for acids only, then there is a cabinet for corrosive acids, another for corrosive bases and the last for flammable chemicals. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. It should be a concern that there might be excessive chemical vapors from liquid chemicals kept in cabinets. It is best to put these cabinets away from the sunlight but in cool, dry places. There should be hazardous signs installed on the doors of the cabinets or storage places.
To help identify chemicals quickly, it has been recommended by OSHA to create a color coding system because they do not have a specific system that everyone should follow. For example, you can use red for flammable chemicals, yellow for reactive or oxidizing agents, chemicals hazardous to health can be colored blue, corrosives chemicals can be white, and green and gray for those chemicals that are only moderately hazardous.
The people that are handling the chemicals should receive training on the safety storage procedures. There should be training every few months as recommended by OSHA. Staff should be informed about new chemicals and should also be taught of its proper storage. Chemical storage is very important. If done well, your property and your people are protected. You should ensure that all chemicals are handled by trained and qualified personnel.
Source: spill barriers